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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will try not to be too long-winded here. I am fairly new to riding; under one year of actual riding experience. I did take the MSF course and passed my driving test just fine. I now have 2 bikes, one is a cruiser and one is an enduro (street legal). About a month ago, I wiped out on my enduro going about 35mph on the road. There were no cars around (thankfully). I wasn't seriously hurt, but I did crack and bruise my ribs and scraped up my knees and hand (I wasn't wearing proper gloves). I had to replace my helmet because the front of it hit the pavement.

I took my cruiser out today; it was my first ride since my spill. A little back story. I just got this cruiser a couple of months ago for very cheap. I've had to do some work on it like new tires, new front wheel bearings, and new front brakes. So, the bike is pretty new to me. This ride today marked only my second ride on the bike.

I went about 50 miles today. I found myself not really wanting to go past 45-50mph. I was being cautious for 2 reasons. One, the spill and injury I had. Two, I need to make sure there are no issues with the bike before I feel comfortable going faster than 50.

Has anyone experienced this before? I am thinking that if I get more time on the bike and trust it more (afterall, I did get it used and cheap), I will feel more confident in going faster. But, do I have to? Other than a car getting behind me and having to wait for an opportunity to pass me, is there a problem? Or, am I a 50mph major road hazard that just needs to hang up the helmet?
 

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There's two issues going on here, Ski.

1. It's a used bike. You have no idea at the moment what might be wrong with it, if anything. If you feel uncomfortable about going over the bike yourself, consider taking it to a shop and have a qualified mechanic look it over.

2. You fell. There is an old saying.....there's two kinds of bikers. Those that fell, and those that are going to fall. It happens. Just ride around until you feel comfortable and keep increasing your speed. Your MSF course was a good start. Never took one myself, but it will teach you the basics. The key word here, is BASICS. There is a lot to learn that you don't even know about yet. Your not a 50mph road hazard, just a little gun shy at the moment. Think about what happened. Too fast in a corner? Water? Dirt on the road? And how do you avoid doing it again.

Some advice? Take that enduro and go get in the dirt. It's made for it. Dirt riding will really help develop your MC skills.
 

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Why did you wipe out at 35mph? Were you trying to avoid something in the road? Was it wet out? I'm not very experienced either but all I can say is you had an accident and you are ok now. It's something you can learn from. Stuff happens and maybe there was nothing you could've done to avoid it.

You did a 50 mile ride after the accident. I think that takes a lot of confidence. That's way more than I've done. I think you're good.
 

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Has anyone experienced this before? I am thinking that if I get more time on the bike and trust it more (afterall, I did get it used and cheap), I will feel more confident in going faster. But, do I have to? Other than a car getting behind me and having to wait for an opportunity to pass me, is there a problem? Or, am I a 50mph major road hazard that just needs to hang up the helmet?
I'd say what you are experiencing is not only normal but also healthy! You experienced a borderline traumatic accident. I'd be more worried if it didn't bother you and you were back to riding the same way with no caution or hesitancy. Give yourself some time to recover, not just physically, but mentally as well.

ketchboy and Herrick with the good advice, as well!

My personal experience (I'm entering my third year riding, so I still consider myself quite "new") was to low side while practicing low speed turns shortly after completing the MSF. I totally forgot to counter balance and leaned into a 10 mph turn while on old, smooth asphalt. Next thing I know, I'm flat on my stomach and the bike is spinning away from me. Got a nice patch of road rash on one knee, some light gouging on my fairings, and the embarrassment of knowing I screwed up. What frustrated me more was that it took me a good several months before I was comfortable executing low speed turns to the left. I knew it was just a mental issue so I dedicated a little time at the beginning or end of each ride to just practicing that turn until I was comfortable with it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone for the posts.

1. About the bike. I used the "time off" while I healed to work on the bike. I've replaced the front wheel bearings and brakes. I also adjusted the chain and made sure the rear axle was straight. I also had a new front tire put on. I did all the work except for mounting the front tire to the rim. I checked and tripled checked all of my torque specs to make sure the wheels didn't fall off...I will take it out on short rides like the last one and increase the distance a little each time to gain trust/confidence in the bike.

The enduro (i.e., the bike I wiped out on) was actually in fairly good shape after the fall. Some of the plastics are scratched, but that it's a big deal since it's an off-road type bike. I had to replace the handlebars (old one was bent). I also replaced the grips. I went over the bike and made sure things were adjusted and tight. Since this is the bike I slid on...I'm much more nervous taking this out on the road again. I have a fear that I went down due to some issue with the bike. I doubt it, but that's in my head at the moment.

I like the idea of taking it on dirt and getting more confident in riding it and it's capabilities.

2. To this day, I'm not 100% sure what happened. I don't recall there being anything on the road. Thinking back to it, I think I might have over counter-steered and maybe leaned in too much. I had just taken my big Honda cruiser out for a long ride and then got home and jumped on the enduro. So, I went from a 600lb bike to a bike that weighed 250lbs. And, the two bikes handle very differently. I might have over compensated in the turn and the next thing I know the bike is sliding.

3. I also learned a lesson about gear. I was riding in just regular jeans and these cheap fabric gloves. Had I been wearing riding pants and leather gloves, I would have saved my knees and hand from being scraped up. I also used the time off to buy new gear. I got actual riding pants, a new jacket, leather gloves with carbon fiber and reinforced palms, and a new hi-viz helmet.
 

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2. To this day, I'm not 100% sure what happened. I don't recall there being anything on the road. Thinking back to it, I think I might have over counter-steered and maybe leaned in too much. I had just taken my big Honda cruiser out for a long ride and then got home and jumped on the enduro. So, I went from a 600lb bike to a bike that weighed 250lbs. And, the two bikes handle very differently. I might have over compensated in the turn and the next thing I know the bike is sliding.
Switching between two vastly different bikes definitely could have contributed, and what kind of tires are on the enduro? Knobby tires will have far less grip on the road.
 

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I'm glad you've come through it okay. Ride how you're comfortable but don't be afraid to move up to higher levels as your confidence builds. And that's the key: build confidence where you are, then move up a bit.

And ditto on the gear. I recently fell off low side during a Basic Skills for Returning Riders class (Ohio BMV, great class!). Ironic, yeah, I know. I was going 20mph on a quick-stop exercise and hit the rear brake too hard with the handlebars turned just a wee bit, and down I went. I was wearing leather gloves and my Hein Gericke leather jacket, but no riding pants, just blue jeans. Upper body was uninjured except for a dislocated little finger. But my leg got pretty scraped up even through the jeans. Lesson learned.
 

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I would think jumping on to the DP bike, right after riding the heavy cruiser may have a lot to do with your accident. After riding the heavy bike, getting on to what may feel like a little, light bike, well maybe a bit of over confidence may have played into it? It wouldn't be the first time that has happened.

I can remember sitting on the side of a gravel road, picking gravel out of my arm because of a "little" dirt bike.
 

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I tend to disagree with some here.
Riding different bikes can only help IMO. Riding in the dirt is the best place to practice.

I used to get off a screaming 2 stroke 250 with a left hand shift, and get on a lower reving 4 stroke with a right hand shift. Then ride in the dirt on another bike, and ride on the street on a variety of bikes.

These days I switch bikes often. Tonight for darts, I will take the XS400. Last week I took the bigger Yami with the side car. Meanwhile, Noddy the Triumph would like to go places.

UK
 

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I tend to disagree with some here.
Riding different bikes can only help IMO. Riding in the dirt is the best place to practice.

I used to get off a screaming 2 stroke 250 with a left hand shift, and get on a lower reving 4 stroke with a right hand shift. Then ride in the dirt on another bike, and ride on the street on a variety of bikes.

These days I switch bikes often. Tonight for darts, I will take the XS400. Last week I took the bigger Yami with the side car. Meanwhile, Noddy the Triumph would like to go places.

UK
Yeah but you are superhuman and probably have more track time than everyone else in this thread has street time combined.

Anyway back on topic, very few riders can say they have never been down, and it hurts regardless of speed, if nothing else your pride.
 

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Yes to and 12.
I almost added in my post number 3 above. Do not do what I do.
I have not crashed on the public highways. Snow and ice do not count.
My first motocross on a borrowed CZ in Portland OR, I crashed a couple of times. I bought owner new levers. At a later motocross I was running third, and passed the guy in front. So i was second for about 2 seconds then cartwheeled in to a tree. Got a piece of tree stuck in my right leg, and a trip to the hospital. Have the scar and a funny bump in the muscle.
At my first cross country race, I crashed about 20 times getting up the first hill / mountain.

Early at the road race track, my bike did not go where I pointed it, and I flew in to a gully at about 85.
My head hit a rock by my right temple. I was out for about 45 minutes. Memory was a bit fried for a long time. I have much to say about concussions. If I had off woken up dead, I would not have known about it.
That was a wake up call. Since then, other than a few off track moments, and hundreds of get offs in the dirt, I have survived quite well.

As an aside. I switched the shifter on the Yamaha 2 stroke, to the right hand side and went faster.
It was mostly because a lose piece of cartilage, was floating around in my left knee. Got that fixed later when the technology improved. The torn cartilage was likely from a motocross incident.

If I go to the bike gang meeting on Sunday, I will chat with a guy who often beat me at the track. Very good expert rider, still riding a 500 Ninja at 77.

Now I am not sure if this is encouraging or not. UK
 

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It's encouraging, UK. We're just showing Ski that seat belts don't apply to bikes and you're going to fall. Everybody does it. He's just going to have to pay attention and be ready for it.
I never did any road racing. Mostly a little moto cross, and a lot of desert hair and hound, if they even call it that anymore. Barstow to Vegas back in the 70's was a lot of fun.

A CZ. Never rode one. Wasn't that kind of like the old Macos? It was either idle or WOT. In between it just didn't work.
 

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Yes, y'all are saying you fall down and get up and go but no one is helping with the OP's concern. That being how he now feels about riding. I'll say that being apprehensive is normal. Despite all you macho guys just getting up and going again. I'll say y'all aren't normal. Once you get hurt seriously you tend not to want to get there again. It's been 7 years since I went down and I'm still not the rider I was. Oh I got back on the horse alright but my balance is still off and I don't do parking lot maneuvers nearly like I used to. And I feel that is directly related to the fear of falling over again. Even though I know exactly how to ride slow. I have to force myself to do it now. Where before I never even thought about it. I just did it.

So for the OP to not want to go faster than 45-50mph I say is perfectly normal. But give it time. You may have to force yourself to do it much like I have to. Do it long enough and you should be okay. A lot of why I'm still having trouble is because every time I turn around I'm back in the hospital under the knife again. So I'm not getting that repetitive saddle time needed to get past the fear. I suspect if the macho guys would think about it, they too had some apprehensions but pushed passed it and did so quickly and receptively so they got past it so quickly they didn't really have time to think about. Your mind is an amazing thing. But it can be tricked too. That's why placebos work so well. Your job now is to trick your mind that is okay to go faster. Saddle time can do that. It really is that simple.

Even though my crash was at 70mph, it isn't speed I fear. I've been back to 125mph since. It's falling over at slow parking lot speeds I fear. Now that's crazy.:grin:
 

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I think we are addressing Ski's fears, Hog. Every one of us, you included, has said to face your fear and push thru it. It just takes time for an individual to get past it. Everybody is different. He'll get there, unless he allows himself to be overcome by his accident. If he now feels abnormally apprehensive or scared, maybe he doesn't have the personality to be a bike rider. It's a decision he has to make on his own.

And yes...most bikers are not normal. lol. And you're right about accidents too. When I had my 'get off' on my Bultaco, I suffered a separated arm/shoulder, compressed neck, broken nose, ground the right side of my face into a bloody pulp, and was leaking blood from various parts of my body. Did it make a difference in riding bikes? Oh yeah. It took over a year just to get back 90% of my riding style in the dirt. I NEVER did get that 10% back. All that relates to street riding too. Just overcome your fear and push thru it.

And don't call me Macho Guy! I'm just a Don Knots type 'milk-toast'. Just kidding.:grin:
 

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I suspect we all have our fears that we just don't normally talk about. Mine, downhill left turns. Crashed on one once years ago, but every so often I run into that situation, I start to tense up. I have to make myself relax and just ride through the curve. It's not every time I come to a downhill left turn, but it still happens.
 

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We all face fears, sometimes we beat them and never feel them again, sometimes they beat us and we give up, most of the time we fight them to a draw at some level and live with them lingering around in the background. Your back riding so the fear didn't beat you, now you have to fight it for a while till you find equilibrium. You should keep riding where your comfortable, find safe ways to do that, give it time, note what bothers you and try to force yourself a little bit to stretch your limits when your feeling good and in time you'll find that balance.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks again for the support. I’m going to keep riding the cruiser in my comfort zone and see how that treats me. Even though I was going slower than I would have before the accident, I still enjoyed the ride. And, fortunately, I live in a pretty rural area so there are fewer cars to contend with than if I lived in a suburb or city.

I took the enduro out today for the first time since the accident. I didn’t go far, maybe 15 minutes around town. I felt I was much more cautious on this bike and less confident in the bike; after all, it’s the bike I went down on. I triple checked all the bolts I could before venturing out. I haven’t been on the bike in a month. It’s going to take some time before I trust that bike. Like I said before, it very well could have been just me leaning too much into the curve that caused me to fall, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking it could have been something mechanical. I’ve gone through the bike really carefully and checked and adjusted the axle bolts, chain, brakes, etc. I had to install a new handlebar and grips because the stock handlebar was bent from hitting the pavement. Despite me triple checking every thing that I can, it will definitely take some time to get my confidence back in riding that bike and trust that it’s fine mechanically.

I also had the enduro on a gravel road for a short while today and that felt even more weird since you don’t have much traction on gravel. I have 50/50 tires on the bike. I will try to find a good place for dirt or trail riding. Gravel roads suck and it was a mistake to go on that road.
 
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